In case you missed it, Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 is here. Along with it comes a second beta for the .NET Framework 3.5, a toolkit for Silverlight 1.0 application development, a release candidate version of Silverlight 1.0, and a Go-Live license.
If you plan to download the beta right away, then you should read the appropriately subtitled "Important Installation Notes -- Please Read!" section of Scott Guthrie's VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 Beta 2 Released blog entry.
Guthrie, general manager of the .NET developer platform, makes two points here -- first, there is a batch file that ASP.NET AJAX developers need to install, and second, settings should be reset after the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 installation. (Of additional interest to Web developers is ASP.NET AJAX in .NET 3.5 and VS 2008, which explains some of the new features in the Ajax framework and what it takes to upgrade from ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 to v3.5.)
Once the software is up and running, the next step, of course, is determining what to do with it. Enter Scott Hanselman's VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 Beta 2 Releases Made Easy blog entry. Here the newest member of the Microsoft family provides three brief outlines -- easiest, easy and hardcore -- for getting the most out of the new releases. There's a more in-depth outline, too; it offers tips for downloading the software quickly and getting the right version of Silverlight.
Once you've determined what to do with Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2, it is time, finally, to get to work. Before putting on a pot of coffee, though, take a quick glance at another Guthrie blog post, Nice VS 2008 Code Editing Improvements. Improvements in IntelliSense, particularly for working with Visual Basic APIs and with LINQ, may reduce the necessity of late-night caffeine.
Finally, Guthrie and Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's development unit, are the stars of a Channel 9 video introducing Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2. You can check out the video here.